Monday, December 15, 2014

Contentious and Unprofessional Discovery Conduct Risks Attorney Ban and Close of Discovery for that Side

The court denied without prejudice the parties' discovery motions and warned counsel that attorneys who did not behave professionally would be banned from discovery and that discovery for that side could be closed altogether. "The court . . . chastised both sides for the contentiousness and unprofessionalism that has marred discovery in this case, particularly the depositions. Both sides are at fault and the attorneys for both sides must change their behavior significantly and immediately. . . . This is particularly important during depositions: no repetitive questioning, no badgering witnesses, no speaking objections, 100% Marquess of Queensbury Rules. . . . [I]n any further discovery concern flagged for the court, the court will ban from any further participation in discovery the offending attorney, regardless where that attorney fits into the hierarchy. The court is the sole judge of what constitutes offending conduct and its threshold in this case now is particularly low. The court further warned that if it then finds a second incident of offensive discovery conduct on either side, the court will completely close discovery for that side. This is not an idle threat, it is a just order under Rule 37(b)(2)(A) and every lawyer involved in this lawsuit must read this order and abide by it."

US Water Services, Inc. v. Novozymes A/S et al, 3-13-cv-00864 (WIWD December 11, 2014, Order) (Crocker, M.J.)

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